|Philly Prospect Dennis Hasson signs with TKO Boxing Promotions!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (July 25, 2009) Photo © www.phillyboxinghistory.com
Dennis Hasson fights out of the Kensington section of Philadelphia where they filmed the first “Rocky” movie. At 16 while training at Front Street Gym, he was able to get out of the ghetto area of crime to gain a full scholarship to Northern Michigan University and later become a member of the United States Olympic Training Center Boxing Team under the direction of Al Mitchell and former Gold Medalist and world champion David Reid.
While at Northern Michigan Hasson would become fast friends with Chad Aquino and Dat Nguyen. He
was a teammate of Jermain Taylor, Sechew Powell and Philly’s Zahir Raheem and Teon Kennedy, while ranked #2 in the #178 division in the US. He won the noted Ringside Tournament and has had strong finishes in numerous national tournaments. Upon finishing his amateur career at 85-16 he would come back to Philly seeking guidance upon starting a professional career. Several offers tying him up promotionally for 9 years were turned down. He went to the Rock Ministry Gym in Kensington, run by Buddy Osborn and Paul Orr. Osborn, a former 1980 PA GG champion, agreed to manage him with the help from long time PPV promoter Joe Hand, Sr. Hand brought in as co-manager would help defray expenses since Hasson would train at the Joe Hand Gym. The best move Osborn would make was bringing in Wade and Randy Hinnant as co-trainers. “He’s a class act. He’s always upbeat and very talented. He punches harder than his record would indicate,” said Wade Hinnant.
Osborn and Orr (a former preacher’s son) hold weekly Bible studies at the gym and helped lead Hasson to accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Little did Hasson know, the problems that would develop later would only be overcome by his new found faith. It reminds me of the passage, from Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in they name? And in they name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many works? (23) Lord answered “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Hasson’s career started in March of 2008 winning every round with a decision over John “The Baptist” Terry on a J. Russell Peltz card at the New Alhambra in South Philly. An initial debut on an ESPN2 show the month before promoted by Dave “TNT” Tiberi show was nixed by Hand. Hasson had quite a following at that first show. A follow up knockout win over Charles Kirby at the same venue showed the punching power he had exhibited in the amateur ranks. While an Atlantic City bout was nixed the end of May that his trainers had the main event fighter on, he would return to action with wins in July and August. The latter a knockout win over Dave Cook. In September a possible bout in Reading was
In October an “Irish Show” was promoted by Tom Moran. Hasson was to be featured as the only Irish (and German) local fighter on the card. Seems he was the only boxer with a winning record opponent who was known to be a spoiler. Hasson had met him in the amateurs. Though it was proposed a week in advance, no other opponent was furnished causing no fight. In November Hasson returned to the New Alhambra in winning his first 6 rounder. In December, once again a bout in Reading gets nixed because the promoter was told by his Philly matchmaker Hasson is not a “ticket seller”. Same matchmaker told me “he only buys the cheap seats.” Has he been to Kensington lately? What else can they afford? Plus if his ticket prices weren’t so high it would help. That’s 5 fights that his management didn’t follow up on.
Not wanting to wait until March for the next New Alhambra show, Hasson was offered a fight by debuting promoter, Bionic Bull Promotions on their South Philly H.S. show in January. Again he shut out his opponent. In March the legendary Blue Horizon would mark Hasson’s best performance out smarting Philly’s tough Garrett Wilson, a former cruiserweight. “I love that place. It’s like the fans can reach right out to you from the balconies,” said Hasson. In April it was back in South Philly H.S. Hasson would win his 8th straight bout. Bothered by a shoulder problem since his debut, Osborn finally agreed to send Hasson to a physician. Suddenly the “smell of green” was in the air and the Hands appeared after an 18 month absence. Seems Hand has put a $30,000.00 price tag on his share of the contract. It reminds me of the passage from Matthew 27:3, “Judas betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver.” Hasson by the way has been paying his own gym dues since the Hand Gym’s closing months ago and is now at Mike Maltepes Gym, 9th and Thompson. “Dennis has great work ethics. I have known him since he was about 7 at Front Street Gym“, said Steve Maltepes. Hasson would help his friend Lajuan Simon spar for his world title bout in Germany. “Dennis is a good boxer-puncher and an all around good guy. I’m glad he’s in our camp. He always helps out and hope we will both be world champions someday,” said Simon. A May 1st date was nixed by Peltz bringing about the first time Hasson would not appear on one of his promotions since turning pro. Osborn questioned it and was told “it was a mistake on the flyer, he’s on.” That promise was never followed up by Osborn producing no bout. The Hands told Osborn “don’t worry Hasson will be on his next promotion June 6th in Atlantic City.” Though Joe Hand, Jr. usually promotes with Peltz, the Atlantic City venture would be Peltz only and that did not include Hasson. It is understandable Peltz wants a contract after promoting 6 of his fights, but Hasson told Osborn from day one it wouldn’t be with the local promoter.
A tape of Hasson was seen on www.phillykeith.com, a local site of Keith McMenam. It helped TKO learn of Hasson a little better and easier for him to make the move signing with TKO Boxing Promotions. They are one of the fastest growing promoters in the business. Based out of Houston with a gym in Las Vegas they have also promoted in both eastern states of Maryland and western Pennsylvania. TKO President Chet Koerner said “Dennis is exactly the type of fighter we’re looking for at TKO Boxing. He’s dedicated and serious about becoming a world champion and we look forward to working with him towards that goal.” Koerner has over 20 prospects signed and recently brought in Peter Manfredo, Jr. per Bernie Bahrmasel, who is their publicist TKO. Chris Middendorf is their CEO/and Director of Boxing Operations. He has done matchmaking out of the Maryland area for years. “I feel this is a great opportunity for me. I can finally get to go to camp before a fight. These past months have not been made easy for me, but have made it easier to make the final decision. In the end its like Buddy said, I’m the man,” said Hasson.
Hasson’s scheduled return to the ring and first under the TKO Banner will be sometime in August. It’s TKO’s hope to bring their promotions to Philadelphia where they also have Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson. With the addition of Hasson, it should be their ticket for success. Knowing most of his fights may be out of the area, there would still be opportunities to fight at home before his hometown fans. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of his great uncle, the former light heavyweight champion of the world Tommy Loughran. I can hear the words and the new…………
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